Val (Valerie) Cavin is a committed advocate of older residential buildings – their history, their architectural detail, and their potential for providing comfortable, affordable housing.
When she graduated from the University of Michigan and moved to Chicago, she gravitated toward older neighborhoods in the city. She has owned two two-unit greystones: one which is 104 years old in Andersonville as well as her new residence, a 111-year-old building in North Lawndale.
While working full time as a fundraiser, Val began rehabbing her first greystone in Andersonvlle, acting as general contractor with carpenters, electricians and plumbers on this project and another one, a deteriorating brick three-flat in the same neighborhood. Later she purchased a second greystone in North Lawndale and worked closely with a general contractor and an energy consultant on the gut rehab.In October, 2010, Val moved to this building in North Lawndale in order to be closer to the Greystone Preservation project and to become a more active participant in community affairs in North Lawndale.
Rehabbing her own buildings has taught Val the basics and the challenges of renovating older buildings, where surprises lurk behind every wall. Managing her properties has taught her how to find reliable tenants and maintain a high level of tenant satisfaction.
Seeking to apply her real estate development knowledge to help people who struggle to find housing, she completed five Masters level courses in the Urban Developers Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, which focuses on creating and managing affordable housing.
Val has left the field of fund raising and turned her avocation into a vocation. Private lenders are joining her in her mission. She feels that the current market offers a unique opportunity to purchase and rehab deteriorating greystones, sell them to families of moderate income who will value their history, and positively impact the North Lawndale Community.